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Congrats To The Administration On A Baby Step Towards A Rational Oil Policy

June 25, 2014

By Mark P. Mills

The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that a “U.S. Ruling Loosens Four-Decade Ban On Oil Exports.”

But the headlines have it wrong. The law of the land banning exports of crude oil has not changed. The Administration has not “loosened” the rules, but has merely followed the extant law in grudgingly granting a couple of waivers. The Commerce Department, in granting the limited waivers to export crude oil to just two U.S. companies, affirmatively stated that there has been “no change in policy on crude oil exports.”

The reality is that it is now time to completely eliminate the long-standing statutory ban on oil exports that requires American oil producers to ask permission to sell their product to willing oversea buyers. It's time to eliminate a “mother-may-I?” world for American oil companies.

America is awash in crude and is now the world's fastest growing oil-producing region as the result of new technologies deployed by thousands, not a few, small and mid-sized businesses. We are witnessing a permanent secular shift in oil markets. It is time to revoke the 40-year-old law – anchored in a 90-year-old statute – that bans American businesses from selling their product, crude oil, to customers around the world.

Technology and the march of time have made irrelevant and counter productive the ancient legislation that requires American producers to ask permission to sell crude overseas – permission that has now been granted just a handful of times in history. American oil policy today is a thinly disguised combination of industrial planning and state control of the economy.

It's time to let American businesses sell their product to willing buyers around the world. The Administration's two waivers are baby steps. The next step: a wholesale legislative reversal of the ban such that businesses do not have to beg permission from the federal Department of Commerce. That will unleash yet more production, generate billions of dollars of tax revenues, create millions of jobs and reshape global geopolitics.

The facts are unequivocal.

I wrote last year about the export potential here, Unleash the Energy-Export Revolution, based on this analysis, The Case For Exports. And wrote earlier this year about the jobs realities here America's Shale Boom Is A Major Job Creator, based on this analysis, Where the Jobs Are: Small Businesses Unleash Energy Employment Boom.

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